Herbs & Plants
Of The Southwest
Did they really serve cranberry sauce at the original Thanksgiving dinner? We don’t know for sure. We do know that cranberries were around, that the Native Americans used them (especially pounded together with meat and dried to make pemmican) and that Native Americans provided many of the feast ingredients, including wild game, which are traditionally said to “go with” cranberries.
Cranberries were first gathered by Native Americans of the Northeast from naturally occurring bogs that were flooded in the winter, protecting the plants from frost damage. Today the Indian methods have been mechanized, and the cranberry is an important agricultural product in many Eastern States.
Cranberry sauce is an important traditional component of our Thanksgiving dinners, although I have noticed that hardly anyone ever really eats it. The cranberry sauce sits in isolated splendor in its small cut glass bowl, complete with silver spoon, and sometimes goes back into the refrigerator in its original virginal condition. What to do with all the leftover cranberries that are produced for the Thanksgiving table? That is the story of one of the biggest boondogles ever perpetuated upon the American public. Cranberry producers have spent a small mint in marketing to convince us all that cranberry juice is yummy, although the only way they seem to be able to sell the stuff is to combine it with fruits that really do taste good, like apples or raspberries.
OK, maybe I am being too hard on the poor cranberry. One of the most beneficial results of heavy cranberry marketing is the “craisin” - a dried cranberry that is unbelievably good as a substitute for chocolate chips in chocolate chip cookies. Really! I wouldn’t lie to you! Try it and see. Also, medically speaking, cranberry juice works really well to acidify the urine and prevent recurrent bladder infections in those who are prone to them.